Pictured above: "Healthy Medina" members Betty DeMatteo (left) and Pat Yankovic incorporate daily exercise into their wellness plan.
Medina County is making strides in becoming a healthier community, thanks to a collaborative countywide effort to educate, encourage and empower people to make healthy lifestyle choices.
The Healthy Medina program appears to be working well for Betty DeMatteo, who was looking for a way to stay active after retiring from a job that required her to walk an average of 19,000 steps a day. Since joining Healthy Medina, she’s lost 23 pounds and gained some new friends.
“I took part in every program offered in 2018,” says Betty. “I want to stay active and keep my weight, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers down. Healthy Medina helps with both through education and exercise.”
Healthy Medina offers three formal programs each year, including, for example, a “Melt Down Weight Loss Challenge” and “CHEFs - Cook Healthy Eat Fresh.” For each 8-week program, Cleveland Clinic provides the programming and the Medina Community Recreation Center provides access to fitness classes.
“Healthy Medina is a great way for Medina Hospital and the caregivers here to support and give back to the community. We have some great information about how to live healthy, and it’s important we share that,” says endocrinologist Richard Shewbridge, MD, president of Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital.
A series of health screenings are done at the beginning and end of each program to track results, along with weekly weigh-ins.
“It’s all about motivation. We’re here to escort participants from where they are to the next positive step,” says Sarah Arend, program manager, regional government and community relations at Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital. “We teach, so when participants are no longer coming to a session every week, they know what to do on their own. We give them the right tools so they can make healthier choices.”
Pat Yankovic says Healthy Medina motivated her to get off the couch, get moving and shed some extra pounds.
"Healthy Medina" is a countywide effort to encourage healthy choices. Pictured, left to right, are: Sarah Arend, program manager, regional government and community relations, Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital; Richard Shewbridge, MD, President, Medina Hospital, and Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell.
“Over several years, those pounds add up,” says Pat. “I began having pain in my feet – my body was telling me to do something. I saw an article in the paper about Healthy Medina and decided to give it a try.”
All Medina County residents and businesses are eligible to participate in the program.
“We offered the incentive of a reduced cost for health insurance to city employees who participated in Healthy Medina,” says Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell. “The first couple of years, we saw an increase in diagnoses of things like diabetes and high blood pressure that people didn’t even know they had. Since then, we’ve seen lots of numbers coming down, from weight, blood pressure and body mass index to insurance premiums, which today are much less than where we were three years ago.”
Participants can also take advantage of wellness programs presented in partnership with other entities in Medina County. Offerings include weekend “Walk with a Doc” sessions in local parks and a variety of cooking classes at libraries in the area.
“I find the education as beneficial as the exercise. They provide great opportunities to learn from experts on various topics,” says Pat. “Healthy Medina has something for everyone.”
Over the past year, Betty has lost 23 pounds. “Participating in the various programs offered through the Healthy Medina program has helped me lose weight slowly, so I can keep it off,” she says.
Medina is one of 15 northeast Ohio communities participating in The Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI) fosters collaboration between Cleveland Clinic and community partners to promote optimal health and wellness. Based on the community health needs assessment and utilizing combined resources within our local communities, Healthy Communities Initiative programs will be customized around four core areas: physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation, and lifestyle management.